An outstanding book of rides awaits Jason Collett at Randwick but none will be more important than the one on promising sprinter Cradle Mountain.
The five-year-old is trained by his partner Clare Cunningham and is the reason he is back in Sydney on Saturday, a week after he came agonisingly close to winning an elusive Group One when runner-up aboard Life Less Ordinary in the Doomben Cup.
But if Collett needs his spirits lifted, he should look no further than the mounts he has been entrusted with at Randwick.
He is the go-to jockey for Chris Waller this weekend with six rides for the leading trainer, highlighted by Reloaded and Nobu who are early favourites for the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes and Queensland Derby respectively.
“This weekend, a couple of his main riders are obviously up in Brisbane, so it’s left the door open and I’ve been lucky enough to get on them,” Collett said.
“I’ve got some nice rides on paper.”
In fact, Collett’s full book of nine Randwick rides includes five early favourites.
Cradle Mountain is a $2.60 elect to make a winning return in the EML Handicap (1100m) and enhance his already impressive strike rate of six wins from 10 starts.
Cunningham has patiently taken the horse through his grades and he was given his first taste of stakes company last preparation, beating all but seasoned campaigner Fell Swoop in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap in December.
While there might have been opportunities for Collett in Brisbane on Saturday, he wasn’t missing out on Cradle Mountain’s resumption.
“I’ve been up in Queensland and Scone the last two weeks and really enjoyed that but with Cradle Mountain running I wanted to be down here for him,” Collett said.
“He starts off at a shorter distance than what he usually does so it’s going to be a higher-pressure race than what he’s experienced in the past but it’s a nice race to start off in,” Collett said.
Collett is also looking forward to testing Snitzel colt Reloaded, a son of 2004 VRC Oaks winner Hollow Bullet, in the Supporterhub Handicap (1400m).
Collett’s other fancied rides include the up-and-coming Kolding for Waller and Godolphin’s Taniko who both head markets for their respective races.